Three Little Birds

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"Three Little Birds"
Bob Marley Three Little Birds.jpg
Single by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Exodus
B-side "Every Need Got an Ego to Feed"
Released29 August 1980 [1]
Genre Roots reggae
Label Tuff Gong
Songwriter(s) Bob Marley
Producer(s) Bob Marley and the Wailers
Bob Marley and the Wailers singles chronology
"Could You Be Loved"
"Three Little Birds"
"Redemption Song"
Music video
"Three Little Birds" on YouTube

"Three Little Birds" is a song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It is the fourth track on side two of their 1977 album Exodus and was released as a single in 1980. The song reached the Top 20 in the UK, peaking at number 17. [2] It is one of Marley's most popular songs and has been covered by numerous other artists. The song is often thought to be named "Don't Worry About a Thing" or "Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright", because of the prominent and repeated use of these phrases in the chorus.


Writing and inspiration

The source of Marley's inspiration for the lyrics of "Three Little Birds" remains disputed. Some believe Marley was using birds as a metaphor for the way Jamaicans had to grow cannabis. Some believe the lyrics are partly inspired by birds that Marley was fond of that used to fly and sit next to his home. [3] Tony Gilbert, a long time friend of Marley, was present at the time he was writing the song and elaborated, "Bob got inspired by a lot of things around him, he observed life. I remember the three little birds. They were pretty birds, canaries, who would come by the windowsill at Hope Road." [3] However, three female singers from the reggae group I Threes who did shows with Marley claim it is a reference to them. [3] I Threes member Marcia Griffiths remarked, "After the song was written, Bob would always refer to us as the Three Little Birds. After a show, there would be an encore, sometimes people even wanted us to go back onstage four times. Bob would still want to go back and he would say, 'What is my Three Little Birds saying?'" [3]

The song is written in the key of A major. [4]


Weekly charts

Chart (1980)Peak
Germany (Official German Charts) [5] 49
Spain (AFYVE) [6] 3
UK Singles (OCC) [7] 17


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark) [8] Gold45,000
Germany (BVMI) [9] Gold250,000
Italy (FIMI) [10]
sales since 2009
New Zealand (RMNZ) [11] 5× Platinum150,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE) [12] Platinum60,000
United Kingdom (BPI) [13]
sales since 2004
2× Platinum1,200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Monty Alexander version

"Three Little Birds"
Single by Monty Alexander
from the album Stir it up - The Music of Bob Marley
Released25 September 1999
Genre Jazz, Reggae
Label Telarc International Corporation
Songwriter(s) Bob Marley

Monty Alexander recorded a cover of "Three Little Birds" in January 1992 and, in 1999, he released it as a hit single. The cover was also produced by him and, unlike the original, the Monty Alexander version is very Jazz-heavy.

Track listings

Side one
1."Three Little Birds"Bob Marley3:00
Side two
2."Could You Be Loved"Bob Marley2:50

Connie Talbot version

"Three Little Birds"
Three Little Birds (Connie Talbot song) cover.jpg
Single by Connie Talbot
from the album Over the Rainbow
B-side "You Raise Me Up"
Released10 June 2008 (2008-06-10)
Genre Reggae
Label Rainbow Recording Company
Songwriter(s) Bob Marley
Producer(s) Simon Hill and Rob May
Music video
Three Little Birds on YouTube

"Three Little Birds" was released as the first single by British child singer Connie Talbot on 10 June 2008. It was taken from the 2008 re-release of her 2007 album, Over the Rainbow . Talbot released a music video to publicise the single, which was filmed in Jamaica. The release reached number 3 on the UK Independent Singles Chart, and number 1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart in the United States.


After rising to fame on the first series of Britain's Got Talent , Talbot signed with Rainbow Recording Company and began production of her debut album, Over the Rainbow . The album initially featured several Christmas themed songs, and the first single, "Over the Rainbow"/"White Christmas", was planned be released on 3 December 2007.[ citation needed ] The single was then cancelled in favour of an album-first release. [14] The album was rereleased with more general tracks to replace the Christmas songs, and one of the new tracks was a cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds". [15] The songs on the album were chosen with collaboration between Talbot and her management; first Talbot and her family wrote "a list of the songs that Connie would sing at her birthday party", and the management then thought "long and hard" about including the more adult songs, including "I Will Always Love You", but Talbot herself insisted. [16] The album was recorded in a bedroom studio, nicknamed "the hut". [17]

Release and reception

"Three Little Birds" was released as Talbot's first single on 10 June 2008 in the UK, [18] and released alongside the album in the U.S. on 14 October. [19] Rashvin Bedi, writing for Malaysian newspaper The Star , said that "Three Little Birds" was her favourite song on Over the Rainbow. [20] The single peaked at number 3 on the Independent Singles Charts in the United Kingdom, [21] and entered the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart at number 2, dropping to 3 the next week. [22] It then rose back to number 2, and, on the sixth week, reached number 1. [23] Talbot received attention from the British press because of the single's success, with the Daily Telegraph attributing her success in America to her appeal to the Christian market. [24] [25] As of November 2008, the single has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide. [26]

Music video

The music video for the single was released on 19 June 2008. [27] It was shot in Jamaica in late March/early April 2008. [28]

The video begins with images of Talbot skipping through a garden, which is then replaced with an image of her singing on a beach. She then joins a child whose parents had been arguing and plays with them and others in a field, then dances with them on the beach. The children are then led to a stage, where Talbot performs as the others sing and play musical instruments. The video closes with Talbot in the garden, skipping away from the camera.

Chart performance

Independent Singles ChartsUnited Kingdom320 June 2008
Hot Singles Sales United States127 November 2008

Track listing

1."Three Little Birds"Bob MarleyBob Marley3:08
2."You Raise Me Up" Brendan Graham Rolf Løvland 4:04

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